Are Schools Safe From Shooters? How The Market Can Reveal The Truth

One way to define mass hysteria is when a large group of people make a decision about general danger based on one tragic anecdote. If every fatal slip in the bathtub or every fatal car crash received days of attention in the national media, then people would learn whole new ways to be afraid on a daily basis. Would that make them better, safer people? I doubt it.

But when someone shoots a bunch of school children that does make the news, amplified by a national campaign on the part of the media-political complex to erode the Second Amendment. The Sandy Hook massacre pushes the question that is unceasingly repeated: How are we going to make the children safe?

One solution is armed teachers. But there has been pushback. The New York Times reports:

“During legislative sessions this year, seven states enacted laws permitting teachers or administrators to carry guns in schools. Three of the measures — in Kansas, South Dakota and Tennessee — took effect last week. But already, EMC Insurance Companies, the liability insurance provider for about 90 percent of Kansas school districts, has sent a letter to its agents saying that schools permitting employees to carry concealed handguns would be declined coverage. ‘We are making this underwriting decision simply to protect the financial security of our company,’ the letter said.”

Assuming that the company’s decision makers are reacting to real statistics and not to political pressure, this could be great news. If the insurance company determines that problems with armed teachers are more likely than the damage from a school shooting, then that gives us a real piece of evidence that our schools are safe! Despite the stories about mass shootings, the chances of students being shot is incredibly small—so small that insurance companies would prefer that risk to the arming of teachers.

On the other hand, if the decision makers are bypassing the statistical data and making a decision based on political correctness, then the market has a solution for that problem. Three community colleges have already dropped EMC for another carrier. Not only are they not penalized for allowing concealed carry for both students and faculty, but they are actually saving money. These other Kansas schools simply need to shop around. If they do, I expect EMC to reverse their policy. School districts in Texas have allowed armed teachers since 2007 and the insurance carriers never found a reason to charge more for the alleged risk, let alone deny coverage.

Unless the government interferes (!), this should eventually give us feedback on how much protection our students need. If school shootings are a real problem, and armed teachers a real solution, then eventually the disarmed schools will have to pay higher premiums.

I fully expect the government to do everything it can to prevent that outcome by interfering with the insurance market. We’ll see.